Australia news June 24, 2013

Arthur's exit highlights deeper problem

Mickey Arthur's sacking, with just two weeks before the Ashes, is indicative of the current plight of the Australian team
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"What are we doing ????? Cricket ???? Adults we are , not schoolboys!"

Those words were tweeted by Darren Lehmann back in March after news emerged that four players on Australia's tour of India had been suspended for a Test over the so-called homework saga. It was an understandable sentiment from 10,000 kilometres away. The nine question-marks from the Twitter comment above accurately expressed the prevailing disbelief of cricket fans and former players alike. Now we're about to find out whether Lehmann has the answers.

Australia's coach Mickey Arthur admitted at the time that in taking such a harsh stance on the homework issue, he was putting his neck on the line. James Sutherland, Pat Howard and the Cricket Australia board have now lopped it off. That is not in itself remarkable, for few occupations have poorer job security than sports coaching. But the timing was jaw-dropping, much more so than the homework crisis, or the news that David Warner had punched an opponent.

Arthur had been coach of Australia for 578 days, yet 16 days before the first Ashes Test, Cricket Australia decided he was no longer the man for the job. It was a decisive move, but one that smacked of panic. In the past few months, Arthur has presided over a 4-0 thrashing in India and an early exit from the Champions Trophy, but this was a call made less on the basis of on-field results than of off-field direction. Or rather lack of it.

First there was the homework issue. Cricket Australia supported the stance taken by Arthur, Michael Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey at the time, but also wondered how the so-called misdemeanours from the wider playing group had been allowed to build to such a degree. In banning Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson from the Mohali Test, Arthur said Australia were drawing a line in the sand. Nobody seemed to recall where that line was when Warner punched Joe Root in a Birmingham pub this month.

Cricket Australia's displeasure at the handling of that incident was evident when the chief executive James Sutherland spoke about the whole squad and team management being responsible. Why were the players out drinking at 2.30am in the middle of a Champions Trophy campaign, he wondered. And why had it taken so long for word of the incident to filter back to CA headquarters?

The coach is responsible for what happens on a tour, but he is not the only one. Team culture is also directed by the captain, team manager, assistant coaches and senior players. Not to mention that in the aftermath of the Argus Report, Cricket Australia appointed a general manager of team performance, Pat Howard. The idea was that the buck would stop with him, yet he'll be there on Monday in Bristol to announce the sacking of the coach. A coach he played a key role in appointing.

Over the past few weeks, Arthur has had plenty on his plate, devising game plans and tactics for the Champions Trophy and the upcoming Ashes. That is not to say he is blameless for the direction this squad has taken; far from it. But it's hard not to see him as a scapegoat. All smiles in public, Arthur could deliver a spray when required, but there comes a time when the players must also be held accountable.

If Arthur did not gain respect from the players, that says as much about their attitudes as it does about the coach himself. When Arthur led South Africa he was in charge of a group full of hardened professionals who did not require serious disciplining. By contrast, this current crop has lacked leadership and self-governance. It will be fascinating, therefore, to see if Lehmann has any more success than Arthur.

Certainly he will have the respect of the players, as a former Test batsman, prolific first-class run scorer, successful coach and stereotypical Aussie bloke. But this job will be much, much harder than it might appear from the sidelines. It's all well and good to tweet about the players not being schoolboys, but Lehmann might discover they're acting like them.

Getting the players to take responsibility for themselves will be his biggest task. But on his side will be the fact that when he talks about what it means to play for Australia, when he delivers an impassioned statement about the responsibilities incumbent on those who wear the baggy green, they will listen.

He may be the right man for the job, but how Cricket Australia has let it come to this, two weeks from an Ashes series, is astounding. Australia's 1948 Ashes touring party went down in history as The Invincibles. It's up to Lehmann to ensure the 2013 squad is not remembered as The Uncoachables.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mariojo82 on June 24, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Such a drastic structural change will undoubtedly have an impact on Australia's approach towards the Ashes. It remains to be seen if this will be a positive one. Whilst there may have been less than perfect fit between Arthur and the Aussie culture, Mickey is a proven coach at the highest level. All credit to Darren Lehman the batsman, the Ashes will prove if he can Walk the walk.

  • sharidas on June 24, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    With no disrespect to Arthur, Lehmann will be the ideal person to take control of this Aussie team. Of course one cannot expect results overnight and I believeit is not all about results. Michael Clarke may be a good player and possibly also lead by example, but he is no leader like Ponting or Taylor or Chappel. I do not believe he has any control over the other players. This is where Lehmann will be extremely useful.Australia needed just ONE man to take control of the team....not a group of individuals.

  • BillyCC on June 26, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Warne was right in the period of Australian dominance that they didn't need a coach. The players were good enough. Darren Lehmann would have been a candidate then. But what if all your players are lacking quality (except for Clarke and maybe a couple of bowlers)? That's when you might actually need some real help. Sacking Arthur is not the answer. A lot of the current crop don't know how to play Test cricket. That was all on show in India. Of course, they don't get found out in this environment when there are only a few good teams (SA, England, and then India at home and that's about it). The Australians have had only two good results in the last three years and that was a Sri Lanka away series victory and a drawn series in South Africa. Everything else has been a non-challenge or a very poor result.

  • PutMarshyOn on June 25, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    There would be scant talk of culture, leadership, and responsibilities if the team was any good. Painful as it is to admit it the current mob just aren't good enough to win the Ashes. It won't matter who is coach - Lehmann won't have to combat Anderson on a humid Nottingham morning or try to keep Pietersen quiet on an Oval shirt-front. 4-0 England, and that hurts, but that's what we get for prioritising fast-food cricket.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 25, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    A bit of advice to the Aussies: Don't make the mistake of hiring a non-Australian as your coach again. It just won't work in the long run, especially keeping in mind the Aussie psyche that involves strong feelings of individualism, liberty and of course national pride. Australian cricketers probably find it a bit tedious to deal with non-Australian coaches.

    Give your players plenty of rope (within reasonable curfews) and watch as they start to enjoy their cricket again. Cricket is more art than science, so do away with unimportant issues like 'skin fold tests', especially in test matches where they have reduced significance. A little bit of body fat shouldn't be a problem and in fact the odd pizza/ pastry can be incorporated into a positive and relaxing shared activity for the team, so encourage it by all means.

    Why, if skin folds really were such an issue, you'd never have had fine cricketers like Lehmann, Boon, M. Hughes, 'Tubby' Taylor, Border, S. Waugh and of course, Warne.

  • Hammond on June 25, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!

  • CricketMaan on June 25, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Forget Boof, that lineup for 1st test Warner/Rogers, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke (injury prone), Watson, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon won't send shivers to England. Unless thier bowlers set it up for Aus, its not going to be easy for that line up to put a 400+ everytime they bat first to setup the game! I see 3-0 England with 2 washed out.

  • on June 25, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    in case of aussie current crisis.................. it's all about talent. in present team composition they haven't any class players like mark Waugh, Damien martyn, ponting, Andrew Simonds, McGrath and all. current AUS bunch is young of course but they haven't special edge that require to maintain the Australian dominance in world cricket. at the same time other cricketing nations also have the talents to challenge Australia in all formats of the game. it's easy to coach to handle the game if they have class and talent in their ranks. it is very unfair to compare between present team performance and past performance of mark taylor, ricky ponting era. coaches have nothing to do about execution of the game plan in the middle after all.

  • SamRoy on June 25, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    @Edwards_Anderson You can have the best coach in the world, but if you do not have the talent, you will not be successful in the long term. Current Australian batting is quite bad and no really talented batsman is visible on the horizon (If Jordan Silk or Nic Maddinson were so good they would directly been in the team). Coaching is important but secondary. The players are primary.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 25, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    arthur wasn't the right coach for aust. period. the problem is with cheif selector, pat howard and clarke himself. the argus review was supposed fix issues yet it has lead to more!

    to discipline players, simple, one warning and then pack your bag and go home! there are plenty more players wanting to have a go.

    who could forget alan border discplinig billy macdormat in Eng in a side match!

  • mariojo82 on June 24, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Such a drastic structural change will undoubtedly have an impact on Australia's approach towards the Ashes. It remains to be seen if this will be a positive one. Whilst there may have been less than perfect fit between Arthur and the Aussie culture, Mickey is a proven coach at the highest level. All credit to Darren Lehman the batsman, the Ashes will prove if he can Walk the walk.

  • sharidas on June 24, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    With no disrespect to Arthur, Lehmann will be the ideal person to take control of this Aussie team. Of course one cannot expect results overnight and I believeit is not all about results. Michael Clarke may be a good player and possibly also lead by example, but he is no leader like Ponting or Taylor or Chappel. I do not believe he has any control over the other players. This is where Lehmann will be extremely useful.Australia needed just ONE man to take control of the team....not a group of individuals.

  • BillyCC on June 26, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Warne was right in the period of Australian dominance that they didn't need a coach. The players were good enough. Darren Lehmann would have been a candidate then. But what if all your players are lacking quality (except for Clarke and maybe a couple of bowlers)? That's when you might actually need some real help. Sacking Arthur is not the answer. A lot of the current crop don't know how to play Test cricket. That was all on show in India. Of course, they don't get found out in this environment when there are only a few good teams (SA, England, and then India at home and that's about it). The Australians have had only two good results in the last three years and that was a Sri Lanka away series victory and a drawn series in South Africa. Everything else has been a non-challenge or a very poor result.

  • PutMarshyOn on June 25, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    There would be scant talk of culture, leadership, and responsibilities if the team was any good. Painful as it is to admit it the current mob just aren't good enough to win the Ashes. It won't matter who is coach - Lehmann won't have to combat Anderson on a humid Nottingham morning or try to keep Pietersen quiet on an Oval shirt-front. 4-0 England, and that hurts, but that's what we get for prioritising fast-food cricket.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 25, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    A bit of advice to the Aussies: Don't make the mistake of hiring a non-Australian as your coach again. It just won't work in the long run, especially keeping in mind the Aussie psyche that involves strong feelings of individualism, liberty and of course national pride. Australian cricketers probably find it a bit tedious to deal with non-Australian coaches.

    Give your players plenty of rope (within reasonable curfews) and watch as they start to enjoy their cricket again. Cricket is more art than science, so do away with unimportant issues like 'skin fold tests', especially in test matches where they have reduced significance. A little bit of body fat shouldn't be a problem and in fact the odd pizza/ pastry can be incorporated into a positive and relaxing shared activity for the team, so encourage it by all means.

    Why, if skin folds really were such an issue, you'd never have had fine cricketers like Lehmann, Boon, M. Hughes, 'Tubby' Taylor, Border, S. Waugh and of course, Warne.

  • Hammond on June 25, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!

  • CricketMaan on June 25, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Forget Boof, that lineup for 1st test Warner/Rogers, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke (injury prone), Watson, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon won't send shivers to England. Unless thier bowlers set it up for Aus, its not going to be easy for that line up to put a 400+ everytime they bat first to setup the game! I see 3-0 England with 2 washed out.

  • on June 25, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    in case of aussie current crisis.................. it's all about talent. in present team composition they haven't any class players like mark Waugh, Damien martyn, ponting, Andrew Simonds, McGrath and all. current AUS bunch is young of course but they haven't special edge that require to maintain the Australian dominance in world cricket. at the same time other cricketing nations also have the talents to challenge Australia in all formats of the game. it's easy to coach to handle the game if they have class and talent in their ranks. it is very unfair to compare between present team performance and past performance of mark taylor, ricky ponting era. coaches have nothing to do about execution of the game plan in the middle after all.

  • SamRoy on June 25, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    @Edwards_Anderson You can have the best coach in the world, but if you do not have the talent, you will not be successful in the long term. Current Australian batting is quite bad and no really talented batsman is visible on the horizon (If Jordan Silk or Nic Maddinson were so good they would directly been in the team). Coaching is important but secondary. The players are primary.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 25, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    arthur wasn't the right coach for aust. period. the problem is with cheif selector, pat howard and clarke himself. the argus review was supposed fix issues yet it has lead to more!

    to discipline players, simple, one warning and then pack your bag and go home! there are plenty more players wanting to have a go.

    who could forget alan border discplinig billy macdormat in Eng in a side match!

  • Edwards_Anderson on June 25, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    Overall this is a good decision, boof is the best man for the job and what we need to get us back to the top of world cricket. He is not about PR but about getting things done.

  • ARad on June 24, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    This decision may work but it is a huge gamble because of the timing. There couldn't have been any interview process that went into this appointment and CA still installs Lehmann as their coach until 2015! What does it tell about CA's management structure and their ability to plan? More heads should roll but at least some of them should be Mickey Arthur's superiors in the CA chain. Further, I don't get why Coverdale is still defending Mickey Arthur re. the homeworkgate. Being a good coach should not be about drawing lines in sand or merely about implementing a top down plan. Coaching is not a managerial position but a leadership position. Some need carrot and some need stick. You are only working with a handful of players so if a coach cannot motivate them individually by considering their temperaments but posesses other skills, he should be an assistant rather than a head coach.

  • on June 24, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    I'm not surprised that Arthur has been given the boot but quite a lot of the players and senior managers / executives of Cricket Australia need to take a long hard look at themselves as well. Lehmann is not without controversy either - I seem to recall a lengthy ban for racially abusing some Sri Lankan players a few years back and he also publicly questioned the legitimacy of Marlon Samuels' action in the Big Bash. He would do well to rein himself in if he doesn't want to add to the public relations disasters of the last few months. I think we will see a more unified team under Lehmann's watch but I still think England will be too strong over a five match series whoever is in charge.

  • Sportius on June 24, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Feel Sorry for Arthur.To blame it all on cultural differences and earning respect of the players would be a pretty dumb call. While It is true that Proteas work different than Aussies, player discipline is not something a coach/captain can guarantee. Cricket will always have a bunch of renegades who plays the game by their rules. Every successful team in history had at least one such player(Warne, Sourav Ganguly,Imran Khan,KP, Botham, Viv, Gibbs ....). When they are doing well indiscipline matter little to anyone.It is when things go wrong they need to control themselves . To be a professional cricketer and act like one is up to individual players. The list above was regarded as greats because when they did not do too well they were ready to discipline themselves and go out there and play better. Sacking a coach just means change of rules/methods. .Let us hope Darren Lehmann rules work better than MA's

  • king78787 on June 24, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    At the end of the day the coach is there to coach. He is not their parents. He makes sure that when the players get onto the field they win. He is not security or team management. He should be sacked for lack of team performance not homework issues.

  • Aspraso on June 24, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    This is a message that puts Aussie test players on guard -- perform or perish --and will bring out the best in them. I reckon therefore the battle only gets tougher for the English now.

  • JimDavis on June 24, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    It may well be 2 weeks until this Ashes series, but by playing 2 series back to back, the administrators have made this one virtually irrelevant. No one in Australia will care a jot what happens in England as long as we win 3 of the 5 tests back in Australia and so finish this phase with the urn in our hands. These 5 tests should be all about getting the team tactics and the individual game plans right for the series in Australia.

  • Nmiduna on June 24, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    nice article brydon.. i didn't think that homework punishment thing as bad a decision as most experts saw it..after all, one must think of both the sides, it says a lot about a professional player when he just lashes out with filthy words to a recognized journalist when he knows it'll be out in the public..and as you rightly pointed out, DL may well find out that Arthur had a point, even though the action seemed crazy, when you are childish, you leave no other option but to be handled like kids. i don't think all problems are solved by sacking arthur, it may well be band-aiding a chronic headache..but DL seems a fair bloke, and as much as we all envied their immense success with grudging feelings, it hurts to see Aussies limp like they did against eng in the CT, so hope for better results.

  • ThatsJustCricket on June 24, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Lehmann should have been the man in the first place. No disrespect to Arthur, he is a fine coach, but this current lot is mostly young players who need to more guidance, direction and leadership. Australian culture being a bit different from anything else, I believe an Aussie would be the right choice at this point.

  • Rogerunionjack on June 24, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    A shambolic decision from CA, and a betrayal of the trust and responsibility given to Arthur. A coach is only as good as his players, and Lehmann can at best be a stop gap solution. It's the guys at the very top - Sutherland, Howard and company that should be sacked. And give Arthur a free reign and two years with the U-19 team.

  • bobagorof on June 24, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I'm still stunned by the belief within Cricket Australia that Ponting and Hussey retired 'too soon', as stated during the press conference. While certainly there have been discipline and performance issues since their retirement, both had been around the younger players for several years and had several more prior to that to establish the culture those players were brought into. Ponting's own contributions with the bat had declined and it was obvious he was a spent force. The real problem is why new players weren't straightened out. Surely one doesn't have to be 38 to be a senior member of the side. What happened to Clarke, Watson, Harris and Siddle? (I'd include Haddin in that list but he's shown himself to be irresponsible himself). Even without Ponting and Hussey, there should have been enough guidance for the fresh faces. Instead, there was a complete failure and, well, we've seen the result.

  • bobagorof on June 24, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    @sharidas: I remember when Ponting first became captain, he was leaning heavily on his teammate, Lehmann, for guidance. Personally I don't rate Ponting's on-field captaincy, but Lehmann has proven himself to be able to guide younger players - both as a senior statesman and subsequently as a coach for Queensland and Brisbane.

  • Batmanian on June 24, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Very hard to judge what was wrong with the set up. I admired Arthurs for evidently running interference with the media liaison. I wonder if it would help to ban Test players from T20 competition from the day they get their baggy green until they give it up? To be fair, selection decisions from the captain and coach have had little impact; the team has been outclassed recently.

  • bumbles11 on June 24, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Tricky job to take on 2 weeks before the series begins, on a hiding to nothing really. Good article and not "uncoachable" and more likely "whitewashable" (yes that is made up). Arthur talked up the bowlers but ignored all mention of the batsmen. I can't see where the runs will come from? Good appointment but hell of a job on his hands.

  • Donian on June 24, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Good, balanced article which asks the right questions.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on June 24, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    This is so reminiscent of West Indies in the mid to late 90s. I only hope Australian cricket doesn't go down the same route.

  • TestsbeforeTwenty20 on June 24, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    You have to have a bit of sympathy for Arthur. First Ausie supporters wanted to have his head for treating players like schoolboys for his suspension of players in India, and then administrators and (same) supporters wanted to know how he could allow players to go out at night during a tournament, and expecting them to behave like adults. Cannot help to get the feeling that Arthur's biggest mistake as coach of Australia was not being an Australian himself!

  • crkt-crazy on June 24, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    loved to see someone seek explanations from sutherland as well being in charge of CA ... and CA started going downwards after argus recommendations ... just keep things simple by focusing on on-field tasks and maintaining strict disciplane off the field during tournaments and matches ... if you needs players who can give presentation or do case studies then hire management experts not cricketers ...

  • Mitty2 on June 24, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    The thing is Brydon, is that he is both a scapegoat and of needing to be sacked - albeit poorly timed. He is a scapegoat in the sense that both Howard and Sutherland appointed him and aren't taking any responsibly whatsoever (they should be gone just as much as Arthur) but his sacking was necessary for multiple reasons and factors. The two arent mutually exclusive

    Arthur needed to be sacked because there was never any positives, there was always a problem - either on or on field, or as usual; both. I for one could never tell what Arthur was trying to do with the team, what gameplan - much like Mark Neeld with Melbourne - whereas with other teams there is a definite plan and players can come in and play their role. Arthur was divisive amongst the players and hindered the progress of usman, Hughes and others. He also was ostensibly clueless - he claimed that we have the best bowling attack and yet no one knows what our best bowling attack is

    Regardless, Lehmann is a far superior option

  • latecut_04 on June 24, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    what a shocker..just to give an idea how shocking its I am an Indian in Florida ust waiting for my cab to drop me in office.(it is morning over here).thought of reading some reviews and comments of our sweet victory yesterday and here I am posting without even reading a word about yesterday's match!!!!could anyo ne xplain why this is being done now?????couldntt hey have done this before Aus team landed.is it because of the pub incident???is watto a factor.So what is Pup's take on all these..and this is absolute chaos isnt it..BUT thism means nothing for onfield performance provided players and talented and have right attitude.Anyone remembers Moors-KP standoff and sackings???(ofcourse Lehmann hass to do the right thing.thats a no brainer)

  • latecut_04 on June 24, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    what a shocker..just to give an idea how shocking its I am an Indian in Florida ust waiting for my cab to drop me in office.(it is morning over here).thought of reading some reviews and comments of our sweet victory yesterday and here I am posting without even reading a word about yesterday's match!!!!could anyo ne xplain why this is being done now?????couldntt hey have done this before Aus team landed.is it because of the pub incident???is watto a factor.So what is Pup's take on all these..and this is absolute chaos isnt it..BUT thism means nothing for onfield performance provided players and talented and have right attitude.Anyone remembers Moors-KP standoff and sackings???(ofcourse Lehmann hass to do the right thing.thats a no brainer)

  • Mitty2 on June 24, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    The thing is Brydon, is that he is both a scapegoat and of needing to be sacked - albeit poorly timed. He is a scapegoat in the sense that both Howard and Sutherland appointed him and aren't taking any responsibly whatsoever (they should be gone just as much as Arthur) but his sacking was necessary for multiple reasons and factors. The two arent mutually exclusive

    Arthur needed to be sacked because there was never any positives, there was always a problem - either on or on field, or as usual; both. I for one could never tell what Arthur was trying to do with the team, what gameplan - much like Mark Neeld with Melbourne - whereas with other teams there is a definite plan and players can come in and play their role. Arthur was divisive amongst the players and hindered the progress of usman, Hughes and others. He also was ostensibly clueless - he claimed that we have the best bowling attack and yet no one knows what our best bowling attack is

    Regardless, Lehmann is a far superior option

  • crkt-crazy on June 24, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    loved to see someone seek explanations from sutherland as well being in charge of CA ... and CA started going downwards after argus recommendations ... just keep things simple by focusing on on-field tasks and maintaining strict disciplane off the field during tournaments and matches ... if you needs players who can give presentation or do case studies then hire management experts not cricketers ...

  • TestsbeforeTwenty20 on June 24, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    You have to have a bit of sympathy for Arthur. First Ausie supporters wanted to have his head for treating players like schoolboys for his suspension of players in India, and then administrators and (same) supporters wanted to know how he could allow players to go out at night during a tournament, and expecting them to behave like adults. Cannot help to get the feeling that Arthur's biggest mistake as coach of Australia was not being an Australian himself!

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on June 24, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    This is so reminiscent of West Indies in the mid to late 90s. I only hope Australian cricket doesn't go down the same route.

  • Donian on June 24, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Good, balanced article which asks the right questions.

  • bumbles11 on June 24, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Tricky job to take on 2 weeks before the series begins, on a hiding to nothing really. Good article and not "uncoachable" and more likely "whitewashable" (yes that is made up). Arthur talked up the bowlers but ignored all mention of the batsmen. I can't see where the runs will come from? Good appointment but hell of a job on his hands.

  • Batmanian on June 24, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Very hard to judge what was wrong with the set up. I admired Arthurs for evidently running interference with the media liaison. I wonder if it would help to ban Test players from T20 competition from the day they get their baggy green until they give it up? To be fair, selection decisions from the captain and coach have had little impact; the team has been outclassed recently.

  • bobagorof on June 24, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    @sharidas: I remember when Ponting first became captain, he was leaning heavily on his teammate, Lehmann, for guidance. Personally I don't rate Ponting's on-field captaincy, but Lehmann has proven himself to be able to guide younger players - both as a senior statesman and subsequently as a coach for Queensland and Brisbane.

  • bobagorof on June 24, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I'm still stunned by the belief within Cricket Australia that Ponting and Hussey retired 'too soon', as stated during the press conference. While certainly there have been discipline and performance issues since their retirement, both had been around the younger players for several years and had several more prior to that to establish the culture those players were brought into. Ponting's own contributions with the bat had declined and it was obvious he was a spent force. The real problem is why new players weren't straightened out. Surely one doesn't have to be 38 to be a senior member of the side. What happened to Clarke, Watson, Harris and Siddle? (I'd include Haddin in that list but he's shown himself to be irresponsible himself). Even without Ponting and Hussey, there should have been enough guidance for the fresh faces. Instead, there was a complete failure and, well, we've seen the result.